2015 is almost over but there are still some ways to make the best of your tax situation before New Year’s is here. Spoiler-number 6 is the most important!
1. Do your 2015 bookkeeping now. If you aren’t current with your bookkeeping, now is a great time to catch up. You can’t know what your tax situation looks like if you don’t know what your income – or loss – is for the year.
2. Run bonus payroll. If your company is sitting on some cash consider running a bonus payroll. Didn’t make those quarterly estimated tax payments? Put all or part of the bonus to federal withholding to help catch up what you owe.
3. Set up a retirement plan. If you own a small business there are some easy ways to put away money for retirement. SEP and Simple IRAs make a lot of sense for micro and small business owners. There aren’t a lot of paperwork headaches or complicated filings required, and the contributions are tax deducible to the business. This is another good move if your company has some cash at the end of the year.
4. Buy equipment. On the fence about purchasing a computer or other office equipment? Take advantage of Section 179 and fully deduct big ticket items (aka fixed assets) in 2015, even if you only have them for a few days. Right now the deduction is limited to $25,000 but congress might change this.
5. Spend some money. Buy supplies and other business related items now for next year. Spend the money now and take the deduction now.
6. Find a fantastic CPA to work with. CPAs can do so much more than prepare tax returns! My firm offers a wide range of services such as bookkeeping, contract controller and CFO, financial modeling, and more. Take a look at my packages and services. Contact me for a free consultation!
Do you have trouble hitting your savings goals or getting out of debt?
Do you make money but have no idea where it goes?
Do you struggle to get your cash flow under control?
My family has suffered through all of these problems and more at various times, so if you are dealing with money stresses, I really, really feel you. That is why I wanted to share this simple, yet life changing piece of software and philosophy we decided to try this summer. It is called YNAB (You Need A Budget) and it’s pretty amazing.
The idea behind YNAB is based on 4 simple rules to help you deal with the above money problems:
Give every dollar a job.
Save for a rainy day.
Roll with the punches.
Live on last month’s income.
The software is basically a snazzy Excel file. No accounting skills necessary to operate it. When you have money come in (i.e. a paycheck, birthday gift, etc.) you add it to the bank account as income. Then you increase your budget items (i.e. rent, food, car, etc.) by the same amount of your income- no estimating, no guessing. When you spend money you record it as an expense in the bank account to whatever budget item you spent it on (i.e. you buy groceries and put the amount on the food line). The key is to spend based off of the budget and NOT what’s in your bank account.
Of course in reality nothing is really just that simple. The great thing about YNAB is all the support– the emails, the free classes, the forums. I think the hardest part for me was the mental and emotional commitment to making it work. But it’s well worth it. Download the software– there is a free 34 day trial. And if you decide YNAB changed your finances, your relationship, your stress levels, your business, and your life, buy the license with my coupon and we’ll each save $6: http://ynab.refr.cc/N9PSBXW
It’s hard to believe how fast 2015 is going. The deadline for 2014 tax returns for businesses (corporations and partnership) on extension is quickly approaching! The deadline is September 15- that’s just two weeks away. Contact your CPA right away if you still haven’t filed. Need help filing your business taxes? Make an appointment with me!
On Monday, July 13, 2015, Curtis James Jackson III, also known as the rapper 50 Cent, filed for bankruptcy. How does someone whose net worth was reported at $155 million a few months prior suddenly claim to have assets and debts between $10 and $50 million?
Part of the issue is related to rapid, large, but short-lived income. For those individuals who quickly make huge sums of money in a short time (think pro athletes, lottery winners), it is easy to forget that the level of income will not go on forever. These people might spend too extravagantly, buying big houses and shiny, fast cars, not understanding the cash flow needs (I.e.- maintenance) of these assets when the money stops flowing in. In the case of 50 Cent, his bankruptcy documents stated his “debts are primarily consumer debts.” One of his other business ventures also recently filed for bankruptcy as well.
No matter how much money you have, it is important to have a good group of advisors. This group should include CPAs, lawyers, insurance agents, and investment managers. Good advisors should help you make important financial decisions. They can help you evaluate if you can tolerate the risk of investing in a sexy startup company or need to put more money into retirement accounts, and hopefully keep you from going bankrupt.
Need a recommendation for an advisor? Contact me and I’d be happy to recommend a colleague.
It’s rainy season in South Florida. That also means that it’s hurricane season. While we haven’t had a bad storm down here in a few years, the threat of destruction is always there each year. We make plans for keeping our families and homes safe, but what about important items like tax documents? Everyone needs a plan for when disasters strike.
One solution is to keep electronic records. Many banks have documents available online. Old tax returns and related documents and insurance policies can be scanned and saved in the cloud to electronic storage such as Dropbox, Box, or Google Drive. Many modern CPA firms like mine are paperless- ask your CPA to send you PDF versions of prior year tax returns. PDFs can be password protected to help keep your information secure.
Another solution is to keep paper duplicates in a safe location. This can be useful when you lose power and need to access information. We often leave copies of important documents with family members. Safe deposit boxes at banks are another option. The rental fees on these are tax deductible if you itemize your deductions on Schedule A.
The IRS can alwasy be your backup plan. By filing Form 4506 and paying a $50 fee you can get a copy of your tax returns. You can also request free transcripts of all your tax information (W-2s, 1099s, etc.).
The 2015 second quarter estimated tax payment is due June 15, 2015. If you need to make an estimated payment you want to make sure it is post marked by that day. Make your payment using the Form 1040-ES.
If you are a Florida business owner, today – May 1 – is the last day to file your annual report with the state. You can renew here. If you don’t file the annual report today you face a $400 reinstatement fee that will NOT be waived.
Yup. I said that. To a new client. Luckily it was a friend who appreciated my sense of humor and wasn’t offended. But this advice – not necessarily with the same delivery – is advice that I find myself giving out frequently. There are usually two reasons:
Someone is starting a new business. The LLC is a super flexible business structure. For a small LLC with a single owner you don’t need to file a separate tax return just for the business. The information goes right on Schedule C. If you grow and want to be treated like a corporation, you just make a few easy elections. If you take on a partner, you are automatically set to be taxed as a partnership.
Someone started a business and did not pick a structure when they started. In this case the default is sole proprietorship. This type of business puts ALL OF YOUR ASSETS AT RISK! There is no separation between the business and the business owner. When a sole proprietor gets sued, he or she has unlimited personal liability.
The corporate tax filing deadline is usually March 15. This year March 15 is a Sunday so the deadline is pushed off until Monday, March 16, 2015. Make sure you get your corporate tax return to the IRS by that point. If you still need more time to prepare, be sure to file an extension Form 7004. Need help with corporate taxes? Contact me!
The Affordable Care Act has some provisions that affect your 2014 tax return. For many, it means simply checking a box on their return to report health care coverage for themselves and their dependents for 2014. Some might report being eligible for an exemption. Others will need to calculate a shared responsibility payment.
Regardless of how the Affordable Care Act affects your taxes, you will need to have the correct documentation. This paperwork does not go to the IRS, but if the IRS comes back to you with questions, you will want to keep it handy. You will want to keep this as well as your other tax documents generally for three years after you file.
If you obtained health insurance coverage through the Marketplace in 2014, the unfamiliar form you receive this year is the Form 1095-A. This form outlines information about you, family members covered under your policy, and information about monthly coverage. Use this form to fill out the Form 8962 Premium Tax Credit (PTC).
Need help with your taxes? Set up a meeting with me here.